BEIRUT,— The toll in Turkish air raids on Kurdish positions in Syrian Kurdistan (northeastern Syria) rose to 28 killed, a monitor said Wednesday, a day after Ankara said it had targeted “terrorist havens” near its border.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said most of those killed were members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is battling the Islamic State group in northern Syria.
Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said 19 others were wounded in the Tuesday raids on a media centre and other buildings in Al-Malikiyah, a town in Hasaka province in Syrian Kurdistan.
YPG spokesman Redur Khalil on Tuesday said 20 fighters were killed and 18 wounded in the Turkish strikes, which the United States said were carried out without the knowledge of a Washington-led international coalition fighting IS in Syria and neighbouring Iraq.
Abdel Rahman said a female Kurdish fighter was among the dead.
Turkey, which backs Syrian rebel groups and which launched a ground operation in northern Syria last year, vowed to continue acting against groups it links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey fears the creation of an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria that will not be loyal to Ankara — would spur the separatist ambitions of Turkey’s own Kurds.
Turkey is dreaming of and doing every possible to create a system in northern Syria identical to the Turkey-loyal Iraqi Kurdistan Region led by KDP leader Massoud Barazani, analysts say.
It also killed six Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq on Tuesday in an apparent accident.
The Trump administration sharply criticized Turkey on Tuesday for attacking Kurdish militants in Syrian Kurdistan and Iraq’s Sinjar, accusing the U.S.
NATO ally of failing to coordinate the airstrikes with the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State (IS) militants.
U.S regards the Kurdish PYD and its powerful military wing YPG which is part of SDF, as key ally against Islamic State and the most effective fighting force against IS in Syria and has provided them with arms, air support as well as the military advisers. The Kurdish militia has seized swathes of Syria from IS.
The strikes underlined the complexities of the battlefields in Iraq and Syria, where twin US-backed offensives are seeking to dislodge IS from its last major urban strongholds.
They could also exacerbate tensions between Ankara and its NATO ally Washington, which sees the Kurds as instrumental in the fight against IS.
Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, AFP | Ekurd.net
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